NYC Social Services Career Ladder Project

The New York City Social Services Career Ladder Project began in 2014.

The City of New York annually contracts out $5 billion in social services to nonprofit organizations that employ over 125,000 workers. An estimated 52 percent of these employees, the great majority of whom are women of color, earn less than $14 per hour, and 40 percent make less than $12 per hour. Over a third of such workers have poverty or near-poverty living standards, placing them all-too-close to the situation of the client populations they serve. Within social services, higher-paying occupations tend to have higher proportions of white non-Hispanic workers, and lower-paying ones have higher proportions of persons of color.

The inadequate funding in City social services contracts is a major factor underlying the low wages currently paid in the nonprofit social service sector. In addition, the City has not traditionally provided adequate financial support for professional development investments that can lead to real career ladder opportunities in the social services sector. Career pathways are not adequately defined, and there is limited financial support available to those workers who attempt to advance themselves from entry-level positions into middle- and higher-tier, higher paying positions.

A Fair Wage for Human Services Workers: Ensuring a government funded $15 per hour minimum wage for human services workers throughout NYS

December 9, 2015. A new report prepared by the FPWA, Human Services Council and FPI, documents the current state of the nonprofit sector providing State-funded human services and discusses the implications of the Governor’s proposed $15 an hour minimum wage. The groups support inclusion of the nonprofit sector workers in the wage increase and make the case for increased State funding in human service contracts.

More than 200,000 human services workers across NYS are the driving force behind services like … (read more)

The Importance of a $15 Wage Floor for New York’s Nonprofits

August 17, 2015. This op-ed by James Parrott, FPI’s deputy director and chief economist, and Jennifer Jones-Austin, CEO and executive director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, appeared in City & State.

New York’s leaders should build on the historic recommendation of the Fast Food Wage Board appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and begin moving toward an across-the-board $15-per-hour wage floor. A growing number of major cities around the country have already enacted, or are considering, a $15 floor. … (read more)

Statement on Mayor’s Budget Commitment to Increase Wages for Low-wage Nonprofit Social Sector Workers

May 8, 2015.

Contact: James Parrott, Deputy Director, Fiscal Policy Institute, 212-721-5624

“The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA) and the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) applaud the Mayor for including in his Executive Budget a first-ever $11.50 per hour wage floor for the City’s contracted social service workforce. FPWA and FPI have been advocating for this important commitment over the past year. This will mean a big earnings boost for 10,000 workers whose wages currently average less than $10.00 per … (read more)

Mayor de Blasio Can Make Lasting Change with Nonprofit Living Wages and Career Opportunities

December 16, 2014. In recent years, there have been increased conversations at both the City and State level to address growing wage inequality through the provision of a living wage. However, one important segment of the workforce historically has been left out of these conversations– nonprofit employees. This op-ed by Jennifer Jones-Austin, CEO/Executive Director, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies and James Parrott, Deputy Director and Chief Economist, Fiscal Policy Institute describes how the Social Services Career Ladder project will address … (read more)

42% of NYC residents don’t have enough income to cover the basic necessities of a Self-Sufficiency budget, according to a new report.

December 2, 2014. According to the new 2014 edition of the Self-Sufficiency Standard for NYC, released today by the Women’s Center for Education and Career Advancement at a forum at the New School, the cost of a basic family budget in New York City has increased by 45% since 2000 while the median earnings of adults increased by only 17% over the past 14 years. The report, Overlooked and Undercounted: the Struggle to Make Ends Meet in New York City(read more)

Should Nonprofits Be Mandated to Pay Living Wages?

November 5, 2014. James Parrott was a panelist for the Philanthropy New York program “”Should Nonprofits Be Mandated to Pay Living Wages, and What is Philanthropy’s Role?”. A live recording and a PDF of the presentation is available here.… (read more)

Existing New York City Wage Standards

November 4, 2014. This fact sheet provides an overview of New York City’s existing wage standards–including minimum wage, living wage, and prevailing wage.… (read more)

Expanding Opportunities and Improving City Social Services Quality through a Career Ladder Approach

September 24, 2014. The City of New York delivers most human services through $5 billion in annual contracts with non-profit providers. However, there are insufficient opportunities for lower-level social service case workers at these providers to acquire the education needed to move up a career ladder to more responsibility and better compensation. The result is a two-tiered job market that confines many women of color to the lower tier making inadequate wages. Thisprogram, explored a unique opportunity to … (read more)

New York City Social Services Workforce

April 3, 2014. In doing research and analysis of the New York City social services workforce, a preliminary chart pack was assembled that includes:

  1. NYC Contract Budget for Social Services
  2. Demographics of Private Social Service Workforce
  3. NYC Social Services Sector: Annual Earnings by Occupation
  4. Social Services Wages & Hours
  5. Social Services Workers: Family Income Relative to Poverty Status
(read more)